New research by the Labour party has revealed that the Christmas period could see local authorities facing 7418 new cases where a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.
Serious child protection cases have doubled under the Tories, but last week’s budget offered no new money for struggling children’s services
In the first of a series of Local Government Health Check reports, Labour has found that the number of serious child protection cases has doubled in the last seven years and around 500 new cases are launched in England each day.
The number of Section 47 enquiries this year alone was a record high of 185,000. This means that 1 in 64 children are at risk of abuse or neglect in England. Around ¼ of children requiring support or care are children below the age of 5. Seven years of brutal cuts to budgets has left local authorities struggling to meet the growing demand, with many finding that they are now only able to offer support to the most severe cases. This creates the very real possibility that many vulnerable children are going without the support that they need –
Children’s charities, including Barnardo’s, the Children’s Society, Action for Children and the National Children’s Bureau, have described a “crisis” facing children’s services, highlighting that central government denying councils funding is affecting the quality of vital children’s services.
Councils have suffered a 40 per cent cut in funding since 2010, leaving them unable to meet soaring demand and provide safe, effective children’s services. The Local Government Association has forecast that children’s services face a £2 billion funding gap by 2020, yet no new money was given in the Budget for struggling children’s services.
The details of this crisis were exposed in Labour’s first Local Government Health Check report, released today. Every month the Labour Communities Team will report on the neglect facing our public services and our communities.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“This week’s budget offered nothing for vulnerable children and their families. This vital service is becoming unsustainable and we need urgent action from the Government.
Unless the Government finally listens to the warnings of councillors, parents and politicians of all parties we will see more and more vulnerable children go without the care that they need.”
To read the Shadow Communities and Local Government Health Check report: click here